By: Chandler Ragsdale
So far in the 2018 season, there have been some teams that are just flat out rolling. The Red Sox are currently 13-2, the Mets 12-2, the Angels 13-3, and the Pirates and D-Backs are both at 11-4 on this fresh season (mlb.com). The Red Sox and Mets have both already set franchise records with their historic starts, and Shohei Ohtani is making his case for AL MVP with the Angels going from an average team to a seeming powerhouse in the AL West.
With all of this great performance from these 5 teams, the obvious question is, can they continue to be so dominant this season? The Pirates have seemed to benefit greatly from starting fresh and sending off Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. While this team is good, I don’t see them holding up at this pace for the entire season. The D-Backs proved last season that they’re a postseason team, and not much has changed with them except the subtraction of J.D. Martinez. Surprisingly, they do not seem to be missing him too much yet.
However, The Red Sox, Angels, and Mets are the teams that I really think that the rest of the league needs to look out for in 2018. The Red Sox’s starting pitching staff has a 2.06 ERA to start the season. That is staggering being that the Sox have already played 15 games, and that starting pitcher ERA is by far among the best so far in the MLB (mlb.com). Also, now with the presence and power of J.D. Martinez in the lineup, the Red Sox honestly seem to have a complete team. They have starting pitching (Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, etc.), Hitting (Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, etc.), and a Bullpen (Craig Kimbrel, Heath Hembree, etc.). Not to mention that Dustin Pedroia, Steven Wright, and Tyler Thornburg are all on their way back from the DL. If they can avoid injuries in 2018, then I believe that the Red Sox are the favorite in the AL in 2018.
We all know that the Mets have potential, but they have not been able to put it all together in previous seasons. However, that looks like it can all change in 2018. The starting pitching, of course, is there (Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, etc.) but what is separating this team so far from the rest of the NL is the offense that they have gotten from Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier. Todd Frazier has elevated this lineup to another level. Also, this team is proving that they can win close games, which is something that is hard to do in the MLB. The most important stat that they have produced, however, is the 3-0 record that they have against the Nationals. They are proving that they are playing not only to make the playoffs but to win the NL East.
Lastly, the Angels are another team that is to be reckoned with this season. In past years, Mike Trout has been the talk of the Angels, but that’s been about it. While he still is a great player and is loved in LA, he now has someone who is providing him with some major help. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani has had a stellar start to the 2018 season and is seeming to only get better as he gets more time and experience in the MLB. This Angels team has gotten a great pitcher and hitter with the singing of Shohei Ohtani, and now that they have someone who can support Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the lineup and someone who can be their Ace, this Angels team is a serious threat to the Astros in the AL West, and to the rest of the league. They will be facing off against fellow AL heavyweight, the Boston Red Sox this week in LA. Watch out for this series, it will tell us a lot about who the favorite in the AL could be this season!